A sense of purpose

Deceuninck has stepped into the aluminium arena with the launch of its new system and a new aluminium systems business. Nigel Headford, Deceuninck Aluminium’s business development director, talks to Glass Times.

If the impact aluminium is having on the window and door industry was ever in question, the new system launches seen recently provide the answer. Among them are a number of new launches from systems houses that have built their reputations on the strength of their PVCU offer.

This is true of Deceuninck, which has launched Deceuninck Aluminium and its new aluminium system Decalu.

“We’re here to drive change,” Nigel Headford, Deceuninck Aluminium’s business development director, said. “This includes change in how Deceuninck is seen, moving towards a wider product offering, including those in different material types.

“And, more importantly, we want to drive change in expectations of service and support. We have a highly innovative product, which delivers some great advantages to fabricators and installers.”

Deceuninck’s reputation as a leading supplier of PVCU systems is key, he said, with plans in place to emulate its service and support offer in aluminium. And there are other areas of synergy.

Deceuninck’sPVCU business has supported its customers’ growth through the focus it has placed on colour – some 30 colourways from stock – contributing to the 40% growth in foiled profile seen by the PVCU systems company.

“The impact colour is having on the market is massive,” Nigel said.“If we’re going to support installers in selling more, the supply chain has got to give them the tools to do so.

“Colour is key. Not only in PVCU but aluminium.

“Where aluminium is behind PVCU is in its colour offer. There’s an artificial uplift on cost and that’s something that artificially limits growth.

“We’re going out with 16 standard colour options but no increase in cost on dual-colour; it’s there as standard. This delivers far greater flexibility and margin throughout the supply chain.”

Deceuninck Aluminium’s rolling and painting facilityallows it to deliver a series of wider benefits to fabricators, Nigel said.

“We have total control of the process. We extrude profile, we anodise it, roll it and we paint it. It’s all delivered in-house. This means we can bring a value-added product offer to the UK and shape a service that transforms aluminium systems supply.”

Decalu draws down on this, plus the aluminium extrusion technology developed for the patented So Easy aluminium system.

Part of a joint venture with Deceuninck since January of last year, the system has been designed to support fabricators in maximising margin through a modular approach, as well as delivering manufacturing efficiencies of more than 30%.

This includes reducing frame and sash components from eight to three. Decalu does this through the use of: a single outer frame and sash with identical middle section and slim sightline profiles; fully integrated thermal insulation; and the use of co-extruded, pre-assembled gasket, which speeds up manufacture and frees up labour.

“Manufactured from high-performance EPDM, it’s co-extruded with rigid PVCU backing to eliminate shrinkage, something that has been a source of frustration, complaints and call-backs for installers and manufacturers in the UK,” Nigel said.

Decalu88 is Deceuninck Aluminium’s new bifold, and the system also features a lift-and-slide option, Decalu163.

The range also includes a series of casement options including Decalu 88 Steel and New Steel, designed to replicate steel commercial windows, plus a hidden sash and retro option. There’s also a turn-and-tilt option and the ultra-energy efficient, Decalu101 Scand.

Each is available in dual-colour as standard and uses a PVCUEurogroove.

“We see a major opportunity for PVCU manufacturers who are currently buying-in aluminium products, particularly bifold and lift-and-slide doors,” Nigel said.

“With low stock-holding, the flexibility to use your existing hardware and gearing, without having to tie up capital in extra-stock, it’s a very small investment for a very significant potential reward.”

Aluminium accounts for around 59% of all bifold sales. This compares to just 24% for PVCU, 14% wood and 3% composites (Palmer). Of that 59%, nearly two-thirds according to Palmer, go into home improvement.

“There’s a real misconception that you’re looking at major investment to start manufacturing in aluminium, when in reality you’re not,” Nigel said.“Especially if the system you’re manufacturing is designed to minimise stock holding and make fabrication faster.

“We’re focusing our initial launch on the bifold because of its market potential and the immediate added-value it delivers to fabricators.

“This includes those manufacturing PVCU but who may be considering a move into aluminium and those established aluminium manufacturers who are looking to reduce over-heads, and bring new flexibility to their product offer, particularly in relation to colour.”